Tater Tots

April 23, 2014: Tater Tots

Remember Tater Tots? They were supposed to be tiny cylinders of crunchy potatoes, but were, more often than not soggy, salty and mushy. Well, they’re back, but these are not your mother’s Tater Tots by any stretch of the imagination.

Tater Tots have been cropping up on restaurant menus across the country for a few years now. One of my favorite BBQ restaurants here in Southern California has been serving a Tater Tot appetizer for years. And The Santa Cruz Sentinel (in Northern California) reports the tiny tater is “heating up the local culinary scene.”

Today’s Tater Tots are actually crunchy, upscale and prepared for a more sophisticated palate. These are potatoes you don’t want to douse in ketchup. They may come topped with duck gravy, braised short ribs or shaved truffles.

The tasty treats were originally created at Ore-Ida in 1953 as a way to deal with the spud scraps left when the company was slicing potatoes for its frozen French fries.

If you aren’t yet serving Tater Tots at your bar or restaurant, you should definitely look into adding them to your menus. The Tater Tot revival is part of the larger trend of taking everyday favorite foods from our childhoods and creating gourmet versions (lobster mac and cheese, anyone?) accompanied by upscale prices.

Many restaurant and bar owners swear that’s a recipe for success.